– Human use of antibiotics began not 80 years ago, but nearly 2,000 years ago along the banks of the Nile River.
– Those ancient people got tetracycline out of fermented grain that they used to brew beer.
– Everyone drank the antibiotic-laced beer often, starting as early as age two.
People have been using antibiotics for nearly 2,000 years, suggests a new study, which found large doses of tetracycline embedded in the bones of ancient African mummies.
What’s more, they probably got it through beer, and just about everyone appears to have drank it consistently throughout their lifetimes, beginning early in childhood.
While the modern age of antibiotics began in 1928 with the discovery of penicillin, the new findings suggest that people knew how to fight infections much earlier than that — even if they didn’t actually know what bacteria were.
Some of the first people to use antibiotics, according to the research, may have lived along the shores of the Nile in Sudanese Nubia, which spans the border of modern Egypt and Sudan.